By Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director
Hundreds of thousands of people go without essential medical supplies and compression garments to treat their lymphedema because Congress has failed to pass the Lymphedema Treatment Act. We need your help to get Medicare to cover compression supplies, so people have the treatment they need for what can be a painful and disabling swelling condition that results from breast cancer treatment.
It’s been almost ten years since the Lymphedema Treatment Act was first introduced to Congress. Now, thanks to a new House rule, we have an opportunity for a guaranteed vote if the bill gets 290 cosponsors.
Last year, we reached 385 House cosponsors and we’re already halfway to having the number we need this year. Tell your Representative to join as a cosponsor!
At least one in five women who are treated for breast cancer develop lymphedema after having lymph nodes removed or damaged by radiation. The painful swelling associated with lymphedema is all too familiar for many Breast Cancer Action members, like Dina.
Dina was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2013 and underwent surgery the following January. Almost immediately after radiation began in February, she developed lymphedema in her left arm. She spent over six months in physical therapy for lymphedema treatment and was given a prescription for a compression sleeve and fingerless glove.
Unfortunately, Dina’s healthcare coverage, Medi-Cal, doesn’t cover the cost of compression garments, which are around $250 ($500 per year, as the garments only last 6 months), so she has to pay for them out of pocket. She can’t afford multiple sets and wearing garments longer than their life span means less effective compression therapy and a higher risk of chronic lymphedema, pain, and infection.
Dina’s not alone. Medicare, and consequently many other insurance policies, don’t cover the medically necessary, doctor-prescribed compression supplies used daily in lymphedema treatment. The Lymphedema Treatment Act would amend Medicare statute to allow for coverage of compression supplies—setting a precedent for other insurers to do the same.
Join Breast Cancer Action, and our partners at the Lymphedema Advocacy Group, in calling on members of Congress to cosponsor the Lymphedema Treatment Act.
Email your legislators NOW!
Thanks for joining us in taking action on this important health justice issue.